mental health matters

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Who we are

The VA Way is a non-profit that works to raise the mental IQs of our communities. We are committed to improving the mental health of military Veterans and members of the music industry by connecting them with mental health and wellness resources.

How we help

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MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING

Gain the skills you need to help assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use related crisis through our Mental Health First Aid Training.

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Veteran Peer support group

Join this free peer-led support group for Veterans living with mental illness. Connect with others who share similar experiences while learning new skills to handle day-to-day challenges.

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1:1 crisis navigation

Our 1:1 Mental Wellness Coaching helps you or someone you know learn self-care skills to help navigate difficult times.

our story

John Way, the President of VA Way, has a deep personal history both as a Veteran and the owner of a business that provided opportunities for Veterans.

 

After serving 7 years in the Army, John made the transition to Civilian life and witnessed firsthand how difficult the transition to civilian life can be: 

 

In 1999 he landed a job as entry level management at a Jiffy Lube in Baltimore, MD and within a year he was managing 8 different stores. By 2006 he bought into the Jiffy Lube franchise and had two locations. As an employer he found that he was constantly struggling to find skilled and reliable staff, so he made the decision in late 2013 to seek out Veterans. Veterans, he said, are highly skilled, able to lead and be lead. And truth be told, he had a soft spot for them. From 2014 to 2018 he hired over 80 Veterans of which approximately 18 were homeless. 

 

Hiring Veterans does not come without its challenges, as many are returning to the civilian world with stress, trauma, mental and physical health problems. After seeking assistance from the VA  received training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). 

This training proved extremely helpful for him in understanding not only the challenges his staff faced but also gave him deeper insight and awareness in helping his Veteran staff live happy and productive lives. In addition, after training approximately 50% of his staff in MHFA he saw an undeniable increase in both sales, customer satisfaction and reduced turnover rate. It was very clear then and now how MHFA training can improve the quality of life for anyone that receives training. 

 

In June of 2018 he trained to be an instructor in Mental Health First Aid to move forward helping the Veteran community with MHFA training. He currently sits on the Opioid Crisis Community Council (O.C.C.C.) and Howard County Behavioral Health Advisory Board as a voice for Veterans and to help with this ongoing crisis in our community and he is in the process of becoming  certified for training others how to administer Narcan.